GUYANA: Think of That: Let’s talk about it – By Mosa Telford

The hashtag #guyanaisnotarealplace is a coping mechanism. Humour often replaces the disappointment and hopelessness we feel when certain shocking events occur. Instead of being publicly critical, some would rather hide behind fake social media profiles or engage in gossip with their family and friends. ‘Talk name’ or ‘su-suing’ is a part of our culture. But recently we learned that ‘Su’ can not only be hyphenated to mean a Ponzi scheme called ‘su-su’, but ‘Su’ could also be a Chinese whistleblower.

A journalist from Vice News interviewed Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and questions were raised about corruption involving bribery. It was alleged that the Vice President has accepted bribes from Chinese businesses so they can secure contracts in Guyana. Of course, these allegations were denied. It is expected that accusations of corruption will always be denied until there is evidence to prove otherwise.            

President Irfaan Ali said the journalist did not know certain facts about Guyana. It was also alleged that she may have special interest in Guyana. The Chinese Embassy also questioned the intention of the journalist when they issued a statement rubbishing the claim that Chinese businesses have paid bribes to secure contracts.

The line is long for those who have special interest in Guyana. So, while a brave journalist might be applauded for asking the questions many locally might be skeptical to ask and while many are waiting for the report with bated breath, what is expected if there are some shocking revelations? What if Mr. Su is not just a man renting from the Vice President who denied that he said anything to Vice News?

These sensational occurrences inspire the Guyanese public to engage in gossip, but does it encourage us to act? Few might write letters to the newspapers; others will express themselves on social media but the inaction of the majority on issues such as corruption and crime is evidence of how we are anything but a revolutionary people. This laidback attitude we have as Guyanese has opened us to being bought and sold to the highest and lowest bidder. It has left us vulnerable to being plundered. The collective should be disturbed by the shadows of colonialism hanging over us. But instead, many Guyanese simply choose to detach because to become immersed in the current affairs can be too painful and result in angst.

Another appalling event occurred in the parliament this week. But what’s new?

While many Guyanese have lost faith in their political leaders, there are others who believe in them and are confident that they can transform Guyana. They find hope in new roads and bridges, new hospitals, and schools, they applaud raising minimum wage and cheap housing for the poor; increased pension and cash grants, our children excelling, maps to development and oil money said to be untouched by sticky fingers – we hope this is not ‘fake news’.

What is transparency and decency in Guyana? There are those will click their heels together three times and believe that this is who we are, and the best is being done and the right leaders are doing right by all of us and that there is no place like home.

Are you inspired by our leaders though? We do not expect that they will be perfect because no human being is. Most of us will not judge them if they are known alcoholics or philanderers. We would hope that they are not abusers or sexual predators. The least we can expect from our politicians is that they would be respectful.

But unfortunately, the conflict between government and opposition often results in disrespect. Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall said to an opposition parliamentarian that she needs a sex toy. He has since said his statement was prompted by opposition members of parliament and apologized to those offended by his words. Still, it baffles me that such a statement could have been made and the majority of those who were present remained silent.

LEADERS MUST BE POSITIVE EXAMPLES

Our leaders should be careful about what they say publicly. Children are also watching them. How often must we accept apologies? Is that what we should expect and accept from our politicians?  Do we believe them when they apologize and promise to change their behaviour?

The disrespect of Guyana’s women is the root of many of our issues. In any society where women are constantly disrespected, there is chaos. Women raise most of Guyana’s children. Her state of being will influence the generations she is raising. When the woman is honoured, the generations will prosper. When she is not, the dysfunction in the society will multiply.

Even though we are at a point in history where women are supposed to be standing side by side with the men and carrying the weight of the planet on our shoulders equally, it is unfortunate that the disrespect of women continues. Guyana’s parliamentarians are supposed to be men and women who advocate for women’s rights. There are those who are supposed to be fighting to curb gender-based violence. There are those who claim to love the women and girls in their lives, yet there was no unanimous condemnation when a minister of government said to an opposition parliamentarian that she needed a sex toy.

#guyanaisnotarealplace is a coping mechanism. Despite the glimmers of hope and the excitement about Guyana’s future in some sections of the population, the spotlight is also on the despair and hopelessness that cannot be completely wished away by our humour or detachment.

While many are anxiously waiting with bated breath on the Vice News report and hope Mr. Su is sleeping well, the struggle continues.

The #guyanaisnotarealplace hashtag will not guarantee that we have money in our pockets. It will not assure us that Georgetown will never become a water city. It will not assure us that the drilling is not indeed chasing the fish away. It will not erase any risk the oil industry poses. It will not guarantee our mental health.

It is fantasies that save many of us. Like children who create imaginary characters to be their friends, we often create alternate realities to give us hope. Emotional detachment is sometimes the manifestation of us needing to protect our peace. It is the need to believe in the words of Bob Marley that ‘every little thing gonna be alright’. But will it be?

————————————–

Read more about Mr Su’s company here:

Su Zhi Rong (also known as Su Zhirong) has been operating in Guyana since before 2006 and was the recipient of a large lumber concession under his company Rong–An Inc.

Rong-An Inc. was incorporated here in 2006 and had submitted an application the same year for authorisation to undertake large-scale logging and the operation of a portable sawmill within SFEP 02/ 2011, located on the right bank of the Berbice River and left bank of the Corentyne River in Region 6. The company had said that it would be plugging some US$20M into the investment.

The following GOOGLE search has more information:-

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=Rong-An+Inc-+Guyana

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Uncle Francis  On 03/02/2022 at 9:42 pm

    Nice piece, Dear Mosa. However, ever since I was a little fellow some 70 years ago, there was the saying “The good men end last.” There was always talk about the pretty girls falling for the BAD guys, while they show absolute disdain for those young men who show them respect.

Leave a Reply to Uncle Francis Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: